BA announces first bookshops to receive diversity grants

News - Bookselling Friday, 05 October 2018

Grants from £50k fund designed to help booksellers imprive engagement with under-represented communities


The BA has announced the first 15 bookshops to receive its brand-new Diversity & Inclusiveness Grants, designed to help booksellers make a tangible difference, by improving engagement with under-represented communities.

The bookshops confirmed to receive grants in the first tranche are:

The Lighthouse, Edinburgh
Burley Fisher, London
Little Ripon Bookshop, Ripon
Burway Books, Church Stretton
Seven Stories, Newcastle
Book Nook, Hove
Tales on Moon Lane, London
Orb’s Community Bookshop, Huntly
Carmina Gadelica, Isle of Skye
Vibes & Scribes, Cork
Bookmark, Grantown
Rabbit Hole, Brigg
Sevenoaks Bookshop, Sevenoaks
Pages of Hackney, London
Rogan’s Books, Bedford

The projects applied for include funding to install wheelchair ramps and hearing induction loops, building local events with BAME youth writing groups, creating outreach projects with local schools and working with children's community centres to reach families from marginalised communities.

The bookshops receiving the grants will share information about their diversity activities with other booksellers in due course. The grant scheme is intended as a best practise exchange, and the booksellers who have received grants are sure to inspire their bookselling peers, who can apply for grant funding in the next tranche early next year.

Nic Bottomley, BA president and owner of Mr B's Emporium, one of the judges, said: "This first tranche of grant recipients shows the creativity of Britain's bookshops and their clear desire to be as inclusive as they possibly can. The projects rewarded help ensure that everyone is able to access those shops and will be inspired by the books they find there. It will allow the bookshops to pursue collaborations and inventive schemes within their communities, and to encourage children from every background to embrace the world of books. Together they represent an exciting first burst of inclusivity schemes which we are sure will encourage many more applications and innovative ideas, when the second tranche of grant funds are made available next year."

Sharmaine Lovegrove, publisher at Dialogue Books, one of the judges, said: "Bookshops should always be at the heart of a community, and I was overjoyed and proud by the evident commitment and fresh ideas from bookshops across the country for this grant. It's inspiring the myriad of ways a bookshop can reach out to a community which is often missing from storytelling, and to engage readers to ensure their bookshops are inclusive and accessible. It's breath-taking how many bookshops are doing the work of local authorities by providing materials and access to schools who are struggling to enhance pupil learning because of cuts. I hope as an industry we can continue to support local bookshops across the UK, with a wider range of books and further acknowledge the readers they serve now and in the future."

The BA Board has dedicated £50,000 to create this launchpad to innovative thinking and will offer the funding over 2018 and 2019 to bookshops to help them deliver practical initiatives to increase diversity and inclusivity in their shop or in their community.

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